Are Malaysians at risk of losing their jobs in the rising digital economy?

More than two in five Malaysian employees (43%) feel their jobs are at risk due to an increasingly digital economy, according to Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources.

In a study conducted by Workday and global market intelligence firm, IDC, titled ‘The Drive for the Digitally-enabled Workforce’, it was revealed that while Malaysian employees have ­­a high awareness of digitalisation, with almost three-quarters (73%) expecting greater use of technology in the workplace, over a third (37%) feel they do not have the right skills to compete in an increasingly digital economy.

The study was based on a survey with over 1,400 employees in eight countries across the region: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea. It comes as there is an overwhelming trend towards digitalization in Asia Pacific, with at least 60% of its GDP (excluding Japan) being digitalized by 2021. The key findings of the study were announced at the Workday Discover event in Kuala Lumpur.

“The research shows there will be growth in every industry driven by digita­­­lly enhanced offerings, operations and relationships,” said Jasie Fon, Managing Director of Workday Southeast Asia.

“This wave of digitalization brings both new opportunities and threats. Businesses in Malaysia must invest in training and reskilling initiatives to ensure their employees are prepared for the challenges ahead,” added Ms. Fon.

The key findings of the report include:


Digital Workplaces


  • Malaysia is among the top three countries with high digitalization awareness in Asia Pacific. Around three quarters (73%) of respondents in Malaysia say they expect a high impact of technology in the workplace – following South Korea (78%) and Singapore (74%).
  • Despite high digitalization awareness, 44% of Malaysian employees feel their managers are not proactively engaging them about digitalization to future-proof their careers.
  • Around two in five (43%) Malaysian employees see digitalization as a threat to their jobs.
  • 37% of Malaysian employees feel that they do not have the right skills to compete in the digital economy.


The War for Talent


  • Malaysia has among the highest turnover rates in the region with 38% of employees saying they are likely to switch jobs in the next 12 months.
  • In Malaysia, positive work/life balance (15%) is the main driver for happy and engaged employees, followed by positive work relationships with colleagues and managers (13%) and work which leverages on employees’ strengths, experience and capabilities (12%).
  • The main ‘pull factors’ for switching jobs in Malaysia include better pay/reward (23%), better career prospects (17%) and better work/life balance (14%).

The respondents surveyed included representation from start-ups to established enterprises, across different genders and a mix of 50% Millennials, 40% Generation Xers and 10% Baby Boomers. Respondents were primarily professionals (36%), clerical workers (31%), service and sales workers (10%) and legislators and senior officials (7%).


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